Boundbreakers Series Starts September 8

Email a Friend

New NPR series featuring individuals who have made a difference

Sept. 8, 2016; Washington, D.C. – Starting today and all through the month of September, NPR will feature profiles of individuals who have made a difference, well before the rest of the world recognizes it.

NPR has a longstanding tradition of sharing stories of smart people who try to solve problems in new ways, introducing audiences to them well before they have been "discovered" and rewarded with a Pulitzer, a MacArthur Genius Award or a Nobel Prize.

"At a time when political rhetoric dominates the news, these are people who, despite having no official elected power, have found a way to solve a problem, change a system or inspire others," said Tracy Wahl, Executive Producer for Editorial Franchises. "We call these people 'Boundbreakers' — people who break through a boundary to make change."

Meet some of the Boundbreakers:
  • They were an unlikely team: Jacqueline de Chollet was a Swiss-American aristocrat in her 60s. Mahendra Sharma was a high school kid in Northern India who was good with computers. Yet together they founded a school in India that is now keeping dozens of child brides from getting sent to their husbands. Global Health and Development correspondent Nurith Aizenman brings us their remarkable story.
  • Pura Belpré was the first Puerto Rican librarian at the New York Public Library in 1921. Now 20 years after a children's literature award was established in her name, she continues to influence the field of bilingual education, nearly 40 years after her death in 1982. Neda Ulaby (@ulabeast) reports.
  • Susan Glisson of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at the University of Mississippi brings together mothers who have been impacted by violence and is working on other similar projects. Glisson's model is now used in reconciliation work around the south, as Debbie Elliott (@NPRDebElliott) reports.
  • For the past four years psychologist Jacques Verduin has run a program in California's San Quentin prison called Project Grip (Guiding Rage into Power). The year-long course teaches skills for coping with prison life, with the goal of transforming violent offenders (many of whom are murderers). Grip has been so successful that it is now being introduced into other prisons in the state. Rachel Martin (@rachelnpr) reports.

This series begins Thursday, September 8 and will air across All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, and online at through the month of September.

About NPR

NPR connects to audiences on the air, online, and in person. More than 26 million radio listeners tune in to NPR each week and more than 30 million unique visitors access each month making NPR one of the most trusted sources of news and insights on life and the arts. NPR shares compelling stories, audio and photos with millions of social media users on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Snapchat; NPR News and NPR One apps, online streaming, podcasts, iTunes radio and connected car dashboards help meet audiences where they are. NPR's live events bring to the stage two-way conversations between NPR hosts and the audience in collaboration with the public radio Member Station community. This robust access to public service journalism makes NPR an indispensable resource in the media landscape.


NPR Media Relations, Allyssa Pollard

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit